Why Organic? by Susan Wanderman

I have come to think of Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, the certified organic farm that supplies the Forest Hills CSA as “our farm.” I am proud of its triumphs, in particular the soil, which grows such sweet cabbage type vegetables, and serves as the root (no pun intended) for its experiments in growing different types of vegetables. But, I thought, why do I care if the vegetables are organic or not?

The Organic Foods Production Act sets the standards for organic food producers.The Golden Earthworm website describes organic farming as “a whole system (or holistic) way of producing food. This means that organic farmers think about the effects of their farming practices on the soil, the quality of the food they produce, the local community and the wider environment.” Organic farms are “substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals.” Natural fertilizers and means are used in growing vegetables organically, rather than using conventional fertilizers and weed control. Different disease resistant varieties of vegetables may be used, and with sales in a local area such as to a CSA or at farmers markets, there is no need to factor in long shipping timeframes that often limit the use of a particular vegetable variety. Organic farming also implements soil and water conservation techniques, and can provide a healthier environment for those on the farm.

By consuming organic vegetables, we may be reducing our potential health risks associated with use of pesticides and chemicals. These vegetables are not heavily preserved or waxed like non-organic ones may be. Even the flavor seems better. The downside? Certain vegetables may need to be used quickly, but we all have our cooking, freezing, refrigeration, and other techniques at our fingertips to quickly use these very fresh vegetables.  While it is possible that organic vegetables may cost more than non-organic ones, it is difficult to judge this on a one on one basis because of various factors involved, including quality, the variety used, and production costs.

I am especially happy to be part of a CSA supporting a local farm producing organic vegetables. It feels great to know where your vegetables came from and how they were grown. I hope you enjoy each vegetable as much as I do!

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